Crafting the Perfect Christmas Cheese Platter: A Step-by-Step Guide

by Maison Morand

Whether you’re hosting a festive soirée or enjoying a quiet Christmas evening, there's a certain magic in crafting the perfect cheese platter that adds an extra layer of joy to the holiday season. As the festive season unfolds, and the air in the UAE carries a unique blend of traditions from around the world, the allure of French cheeses becomes particularly irresistible. Christmas cheese platters adorned with the likes of Comté, Brie, and Gruyère, echo the culinary symphony of French holiday markets and cosy winter evenings.

For those in the Emirates with a taste for the sophisticated flavours of France, this step-by-step guide promises to bring the essence of French charm to your holiday celebrations.

Understanding Cheese Varieties

Crafting the perfect Christmas cheese platter requires a delightful exploration of the diverse and delectable varieties that France and Europe have to offer. Each cheese on our list boasts a unique character, hailing from different regions and traditions. Let's delve into the rich tapestry of flavours, textures, and histories that make each cheese a distinct masterpiece.


Originating from the Jura region of France, Comté is a firm and nutty cow's milk cheese, aged to perfection. Its complex flavour profile ranges from fruity to savoury, making it a versatile addition to any cheese board.


The epitome of creamy elegance, Brie originates from the Île-de-France region in France. This soft, bloomy-rind cheese reveals a luscious, buttery interior that invites you to savour its subtle earthy notes.


Hailing from the Swiss and French Alps, Raclette is a semi-hard cheese celebrated for its melt-in-your-mouth texture. Traditionally melted and scraped onto potatoes and cured meats, it offers a cosy Alpine experience.

Truffle Brie

Elevating the classic Brie, Truffle Brie introduces earthy and aromatic truffle notes, adding a touch of luxury to your cheese platter. Originating from France, it's a true indulgence for truffle enthusiasts.

Tomme de Savoie

A semi-firm, cow's milk cheese from the French Alps, Tomme de Savoie charms with a rustic, earthy flavour. Its natural rind and subtle tang make it a delightful addition for those who appreciate a more subdued taste.

Tête de Moine

This Swiss cheese, with a literal translation of "Monk's Head," is known for its distinctive presentation. Shaved into delicate rosettes, Tête de Moine reveals a nutty and robust flavour profile that captivates the palate.

Camembert de Normandie

Originating from Normandy, France, Camembert de Normandie is a creamy, earthy delight with a bloomy rind. Its runny interior makes it a perfect candidate for spreading on crusty bread or pairing with fruits.


A semi-firm, raw cow's milk cheese from the French Alps, Beaufort boasts a sweet and nutty flavour profile. Its dense texture and distinct taste contribute to the richness of your cheese board.


Hailing from the southwest of France, Rocamadour is a small, creamy, and tangy goat's milk cheese. Its compact size and intense flavour make it a delightful addition for those seeking a taste of French goat cheese.


This indulgent cow's milk cheese from the Rhône-Alpes region of France offers a creamy texture and a rich, buttery taste. Its small size and velvety interior make it a delightful choice for your festive cheese platter.

Selecting Complementary Accompaniments

Crafting the perfect Christmas cheese platter goes beyond the selection of exquisite cheeses; it's about creating a harmonious symphony of flavours and textures. Elevate your cheese experience by carefully choosing complementary accompaniments that enhance and amplify the unique characteristics of each cheese. Here's a guide to selecting the perfect partners for your French cheese ensemble:

Breads and Crackers

Begin with a selection of high-quality bread and crackers. Opt for a mix of baguette slices, crunchy breadsticks, and artisanal crackers. The neutral base of these accompaniments allows the cheeses to shine while providing varied textures for a delightful pairing.

Fresh and Dried Fruits

Introduce a burst of sweetness and juiciness with a medley of fresh and dried fruits. Slices of ripe pear or apple complement the creamy Brie and Camembert, while dried apricots or figs add a chewy texture that pairs beautifully with harder cheeses like Comté and Parmigiano.


A medley of nuts, such as walnuts, almonds, or hazelnuts, provides a satisfying crunch that contrasts with the creamy textures of Brie and Burrata. The nutty notes also complement the earthiness of Gouda and the intensity of Pecorino Pepato.

Honey and Jams

Drizzle honey over your cheese platter to add a touch of sweetness and viscosity. Opt for floral or truffle-infused honey for an extra layer of complexity. Pair jams, such as fig or berry, with goat cheeses like Chabichou du Poitou for a delightful combination of sweet and tangy.

Cured Meats

Enhance the savoury notes on your platter with an assortment of cured meats. Prosciutto or halal substitutes offer a salty and savoury counterpoint to the creamy cheeses, especially when paired with Manchego or Gruyère.

Olives and Pickles

Introduce briny and acidic elements with a selection of olives and pickles. The salty bite of green olives complements the richness of Gorgonzola, while pickled onions or cornichons provide a palate-cleansing contrast.

Mustards and Chutneys

Elevate the flavour profile by including mustards and chutneys. Dijon mustard pairs well with Gruyère, and a tangy mango chutney complements the nutty tones of Beaufort. These condiments add a zesty kick and an extra layer of complexity to your cheese platter.

Fresh Herbs

Garnish your cheese board with fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, or basil. The aromatic herbs enhance the visual appeal and offer a refreshing element that cuts through the richness of certain cheeses.

Presentation Tips

Assembling a Christmas cheese platter is an art form that engages the eyes before it delights the taste buds. Elevate the visual appeal of your French-inspired cheese ensemble with these presentation tips, making sure that your festive creation becomes the centrepiece of your holiday celebration:

Choosing the Right Board

Begin with a foundation that complements the festive theme. Opt for a wooden or marble board for a rustic touch, or a sleek slate board for a modern aesthetic. Ensure the size of the board accommodates the number of cheeses and accompaniments, allowing for ample space between each element.

Creating Zones

Organise your cheeses and accompaniments into distinct zones on the board. Group similar items together to create visual harmony. For example, cluster different cheeses, bread and crackers, fruits, and nuts in separate sections, making it visually appealing and easy for guests to navigate.

Playing with Heights

Introduce visual interest by varying the heights of your elements. Use small risers or overturned bowls to lift certain cheeses or accompaniments, creating a dynamic and layered presentation. This not only adds dimension but also makes each component more accessible.

Artful Cheese Placement

Pay attention to the arrangement of your cheeses. Start with the larger wheels or wedges as focal points and work your way to smaller pieces. Experiment with shapes and angles to create an aesthetically pleasing flow. For instance, placing a wheel of Camembert at the centre can serve as a visual anchor.

Colourful Accents

Incorporate vibrant and colourful elements to add a festive touch. Arrange red and green fruits, such as grapes or pomegranate seeds, strategically around the board. Consider incorporating fresh herbs like rosemary or thyme for a burst of greenery.

Attention to Detail

Ensure each cheese is accompanied by its appropriate accoutrements. Place a small knife next to soft cheeses for easy spreading and cutting. Provide cheese picks or toothpicks for hassle-free serving, allowing guests to explore the flavours without the need for additional utensils.

Garnishing with Edible Decor

Add whimsy to your platter by garnishing with edible decorations. Consider edible flowers, candied citrus peel, or even small clusters of edible berries. These decorative touches not only enhance the visual appeal but also contribute to the overall flavour experience.

Balance and Symmetry

Strive for a balanced and symmetrical layout to create a visually pleasing display. Ensure that no section of the board appears overcrowded or sparse. This balance not only enhances the aesthetics but also ensures a harmonious distribution of flavours.

Labelling Cheeses

Consider labelling each cheese to provide a guided tasting experience for your guests. Small chalkboard labels or decorative place cards can add a personalised touch while helping guests identify and savour each cheese variety.

Festive Surroundings

Frame your cheese board with festive decorations that complement the holiday theme. Sprigs of holly, pine cones, or small ornaments strategically placed around the board can tie the entire presentation into the Christmas ambiance.

Serving and Storage Tips

A meticulously crafted Christmas cheese platter deserves to be served and enjoyed with care. To preserve the flavours and textures of your ensemble, follow these serving and storage tips that will guarantee an exceptional experience for you and your guests:

  • Temperature Awareness - Serve your cheeses at the appropriate temperatures to enhance their flavours. Soft cheeses like Brie and Camembert are best enjoyed at room temperature, while firmer varieties like Gouda and Comté can be served slightly chilled. Take cheeses out of the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before serving for optimal taste.
  • Cheese Knife Selection - Provide a variety of cheese knives suitable for different textures. Soft cheese knives with a wide blade work well for Brie and Camembert, while a sharp, narrow blade is ideal for harder cheeses like Parmigiano. Ensure each cheese has its designated knife to prevent flavour transfer.
  • Handling with Care - Handle the cheeses with care to maintain their textures. Use a separate knife for each cheese to avoid cross-contamination of flavours. When cutting, use smooth, deliberate strokes to preserve the integrity of the cheese.
  • Order of Consumption - Arrange the cheeses on your platter in a deliberate order, guiding your guests through a tasting journey. Typically, start with milder cheeses like Burrata or Brie, progressing to stronger flavours such as Gorgonzola or Pecorino Pepato. This ensures a gradual intensification of tastes.
  • Provide Cheese Forks or Picks - Include cheese forks or picks for guests to serve themselves. This minimises direct contact with the cheeses, and it's an elegant way to encourage a shared and communal dining experience.
  • Replenish and Rotate - Keep an eye on the platter throughout your gathering. Rotate and replenish cheeses as needed to maintain a fresh and appetising appearance. As cheeses warm up, their textures and flavours may evolve, so periodically refreshing the platter ensures a consistently delightful experience.
  • Storage After Serving - Store any leftover cheeses properly to maintain their quality. Wrap each cheese individually in wax paper or parchment paper, then place them in airtight containers or zip-lock bags. Store in the refrigerator, but avoid sealing in plastic wrap directly, as it may alter the flavours.
  • Separate Strongly Flavoured Cheeses - If storing multiple cheeses together, especially strongly flavoured varieties like Gorgonzola, consider using separate containers or wrapping to prevent the aromas from mingling. This ensures that each cheese retains its distinctive taste.
  • Mind the Rinds - When storing soft cheeses like Brie or Camembert, leave them in their original packaging or wrap them in parchment paper. This helps maintain their creamy textures while protecting the delicate rinds.
  • Use a Cheese Dome - If you have a cheese dome or a dedicated cheese refrigerator, consider using it to store your cheeses. These specialised containers help regulate humidity, preserving the textures and flavours of your cheeses.

From the rich nuttiness of Comté to the creamy indulgence of Burrata, each cheese on your platter tells a story, inviting your guests to savour the diverse flavours of France. As friends and family gather around the table this Christmas, take a moment to bask in the joy reflected in the eyes of your guests. Cherish the laughter, the stories, and the connections forged over this delightful spread.